Chaffetz says he could unite House, defends Republicans

Updated

House speaker hopeful and Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz said he could be the person that bridges the gap in the House of Representatives.

“Somebody’s gotta do it,” Chaffetz said on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. “If there’s someone better who can unite us, I’ll support them.”

Chaffetz said the House needs a new face, which is part of the reason he decided to run for Speaker of the House. The position will be open at the end of October when current House Speaker John Boehner retires. Boehner surprised Washington when he announced his resignation last month

Chaffetz said he would not pursue the position if Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan decided to run. 

“He checks every box,” Chaffetz said. “He’s got the great experience, he’s a visionary, he understands the institution, he’s a great spokesperson.”

Ryan, however, has said he does not want the job and even endorsed House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who until recently was the favorite to replace Boehner. McCarthy dropped out of the race suddenly on Thursday, leaving the Republicans in shock once again.

Martha Raddatz read Chaffetz a list of descriptions of the search, including “total confusion,” “a banana republic” and a comparison to “Game of Thrones.” She read part of a recent Washington Post piece that said “Republicans are on the verge of ceasing to function as a national political party,” asking Chaffetz what Americans should think about the situation in the House.

Chaffetz said those descriptions were “a little dramatic.” He defended the achievements of the House, saying it has passed about 200 bills that are waiting to be passed by the Senate, and most of the frustration is with the other chamber and the president.

“To suggest that it’s all on the House Republicans is wrong,” he said, adding that when Americans talk about dysfunction in Washington D.C., “they’re also talking about President Obama and they’re also talking about the United States Senate.”

Cheffetz also defended his own achievements, responding to California Rep. Darrell Issa’s comments that the Utah representative has taken a break from holding the government accountable. Chaffetz disagreed and said Americans have seen him be aggressive on the Fast and Furious investigation, Planned Parenthood, Benghazi and other issues.

On Benghazi, Raddatz asked Chaffetz about the former Benghazi committee investigator who said he was fired because he was being non-partisan and not solely focusing on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Chaffetz said he does not know the former member, but he knows that Chairman and South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy and the committee have said the allegations are false.

“I believe them, and I don’t think it’s accurate” Chaffetz said.

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Chaffetz says he could unite House, defends Republicans

Updated